According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, for example, a mattress that is too soft and lacking in the proper type of firmness can be responsible for suffocation and other such medical mishaps, possibly culminating in SIDS.
Yet another thing to keep in mind about firmness is that it is vitally important for a child’s growing bones, ligaments, muscles, joints, and tissues; the proper firmness ideally provides the resistance a baby needs from such a surface. If the surface of a mattress doesn’t support well enough and provide good resistance then the child won’t gradually build up strength, stability, stamina and even confidence—all of which are of key importance for healthy child’s development.
Important Features To Look For In A Crib Mattress
Although there are other things that are important for crib mattresses, the following 10 are especially important—as such, familiarize yourself with them, learn why they are important and, most important of all, look for them (or a reasonable facsimile) next time you have to go shopping for a crib mattress.
1. Double Sided
Go for mattresses that are double-sided. Although the term generally applies to foam mattresses, the term can also apply to coil spring crib mattresses (e.g., Colgate Eco Classica iii Crib Mattress). For sure, this type has to be one of the wisest investments you can make, provided that you find a well-made mode/make with a good reputation, that is safe to use, and that is affordable.
One side has just the right firmness for an infant; the other is softer and more comfortable—in other words, it’s more suitable for a toddler. If made of durable material and you treat it well and don’t abuse it, such a product can last your for years and may be used by more than one child or the same child as he or she goes from infant to toddler.
By all means, you should get a mattress that is waterproof or water-resistant. Now, this can happen in one of several ways. Some mattresses come with a cover that is already waterproof. For a number of reasons, this is the best scenario possible. These mattresses are easier to clean and keep clean, aren’t likely to get stained, and will most probably not succumb to a mold, bedbug, or dust mite infestation. One of the last things you want to happen to a crib mattress is to let it get wet. Unless you can get it dried out ASAP, perhaps by putting it outside to air out and let the sun dry it out, it runs the risk of developing mold, something that is difficult, if at all possible, to repair. Another way to achieve waterproof capacity is by buying and putting over the mattress a waterproof cover. Waterproof mattresses may cost more but, in the long run, this feature more than pays for itself.
If you can afford it, buy an organic mattress. They are, by far, the least toxic mattresses made. If, however, you either can’t afford one or don’t think that you have to go that far to keep you child safe, close alternatives are environmentally or ecologically-friendly mattresses. They are also, supposedly, made from relatively safe, non-toxic and natural materials, albeit not as natural or pure as organic. Another alternative is simply to buy a mattress that is hypoallergenic and that doesn’t contain any harsh, potentially-harmful chemicals (like phthalates, polyurethane, vinyl, etc.).
4.Provides Good Support
Make sure that the mattress you purchase provides good support. It just so happens that support isn’t just about comfort but it has also to do with durability, adding to the firmness, and, yes, comfort. In a coil spring mattress support depends on such things as coil count, gauge, the type and quality of the metal, whether the mattress stands on its own or if it has a box spring to add to the over-all support. The tricky thing is that slight variation in design, regardless of the material used to make the mattress, can make a big difference. Coils in a mattress that are tied together by wires means that weight applied on the mattress can create a ripple effect of movement, meaning that when you get into bed you may unwittingly wake up the other person. On the other hand, mattresses made of covered pockets (e.g., Marshall coils) independent of each other provide better support than plain coil mattresses. The Marshall coils evenly distribute weight and don’t allow transference of motion waves—in other words, someone tossing and turning on one side of a mattress does not affect the mattress’ stability on the other side.
5.Have Good Breathability
You should insist on having mattresses that have good breathability . . . this, in turn, is important in terms of mattresses not retaining heat but, rather, dissipating it . . . there are number of ways that mattresses can control heat and keep back heat retention, including having air vents that allow cool fresh air in but also let hot air escape into the surrounding environment. Not retaining heat can also be one of the properties of some foams mattresses, as well as of coil mattresses. For your part, read very carefully the features that come with your mattress. If your body doesn’t say anything about breathability and heat retention, then it probably doesn’t have what you should require for your child. Mattresses that retain heat can be uncomfortable and, in some cases, dangerous, such as by being one of the factors (the other being a baby being allowed to sleep on his or her stomach) that promotes or induces SIDS. You can also buy a cooling topper or cover that may have the quality or be made with materials that excel at heat dissipation.
6. Long Lasting
Yet another crucially important feature is, of course, durability. Why would anyone not want a mattress that can take punishment (although no mattress should be abused or improperly maintained) and stay firm and supportive in spite of continuous use? The good news is that both foam and coil spring mattresses come in high quality, durable makes and models. Unfortunately, all mattresses may claim that they are “durable” but you need to make up your own mind about that. There are in fact some things that make a mattress “durable,” they include:
- Having a high coil spring count (at least 130 is considered good for a crib mattress)]
- Having a good coil spring gauge: 14.5 is good for a crib mattress
- Being made of dense foam, if applicable
- Being waterproof
- Being reinforced, especially in the corners
- Having tight, well-sewn seams
Buy mattresses that include tight, well-sewn seams. By all means, stay away from mattresses that have weak, poorly-sewn seams, even if you are happy about the low price you probably paid. One of the many problems to worry about are loose threads. Such things become a fascinating object for the curious eyes of babies and infants. If they pull on these, rips can be created, thus leaving holes for bugs to hide in; such rips can also cut or reduce the mattress’ longevity and durability by, among other ways, allowing fluids to get inside the mattress, thereby inducing rot and mold growth.
8.Have High Quality certifications
When possible, invest in mattresses that come with well-established safety and high quality certifications. Some examples include CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD. These things aren’t just marketing gimmicks for getting you to shop for them—they are formal assurances that these mattresses have undergone certain tests with standards the mattress met or exceeded in.
9.Made by Well-Known Manufacturers
If possible, go for mattresses made by well-known, reputations-to-keep-from-being-stained, and in-business-for-a-long-time manufacturers. Such companies have been in business long enough to have hopefully learned from past mistakes (thereafter not repeating them) in order to make better products. They also generally offer better warranties, better customer service, a wider selection, and more bells and whistles on their products, especially if you are willing to pay extra for them.
10.Don’t Weigh too Much
When possible, go for mattresses that don’t weigh too much. Of course, foam mattresses have big advantages in this area over coil spring mattresses but you can find coil spring mattresses that don’t necessarily weigh a ton. When it comes to crib mattresses, some coil spring mattresses weigh less than 20 pounds—for an adult in good physical shape and with no back problems (and other limiting movement diseases), this isn’t an unmanageable weight. Of course, changing sheets on a regular basis and, periodically turning mattresses over or taking them out for cleaning isn’t a fun activity but, if this is a big issue for you, then consider sticking with foam. They weigh much less, in general.
This article has given you 10 features that you should look for if looking for a crib mattress. There are other features that are also important but the point is that you should do your homework and get well-informed before making a purchase. Getting educated first will not only help you get the best mattress model and make for the price you will ultimately pay—it will also help you determine what is truly important and what things are merely personal preferences